While thoughts of spring cleaning are filling your head, now is as good a time as any to clean up your nonprofit's fundraising strategy. Hopefully, you met your first quarter goals and you're strategizing for the remainder of the year. I just wrapped up a project with a local nonprofit and thought I'd share some of the things I suggested they consider incorporating into their fundraising strategy for the rest of this year and into next year and beyond.
Give your website a tune-up
Your website is the hub of your online presence. It is the place you want everyone to visit to learn everything they need to know about you. It is the place where you explain your mission and provide examples of the work you do, the programming you provide and the people you serve. This is where people go to get their heart-strings tugged just before they grab their credit card and click "Donate Here."
What if we can't find your website because you haven't worked on your search engine optimization in months? You haven't done keyword research since the site went up. And you haven't added new content to your site since your "Holiday Campaign" at the end of last year.
Make sure it is easy for people to navigate around your website and get to where they want to be. Is it clear where they go to donate, volunteer or become a corporate sponsor? Make certain people can get where they want to go on your site with as little effort as possible and you'll start to crush your goals.
Get your website tuned-up! And, while you're at it, give yourself a tune-up and get back in the habit of providing fresh quality content to your visitors on a regular basis.
How's your email marketing strategy?
Are you sending at least one email a month to your donors, your constituents, your volunteers, your corporate funders and the foundations that provide support to you? Have you taken the time to segment your lists so you are sending relevant information to the right people?
Sending one quality email a month to each of your different constituencies is a great goal to have. But you have to do it every month on a consistent basis so people stay engaged in the organization and the good work you are doing. Here's something to think about in order to optimize your monthly email:
- Before you send an email think about why you're sending it?
- What's the purpose of this email?
- Are you providing an update to your constituents?
- Does the email contain a call-to-action?
- Are you trying to raise money?
Be sure you know what you're trying to accomplish before you hit "Send." Focusing each email on one specific topic is also a good idea. When your email is focused you're able to give readers a crystal clear call-to-action. It also leaves all those other great topics for future emails.
Do you have a Content Calendar? Do you know when each email is scheduled to go out this month or this quarter? Have you determined in advance the topic you will focus on in each email? Are time-sensitive emails given first priority? Are you changing up the type of email you send so people don't feel like every time they get an email from you you're asking for money? Creating a Content Calendar will be a tremendous benefit to your email marketing efforts this year.
When was your last blog post?
Blogging must be an important part of your fundraising strategy. A good blog strategy will benefit your nonprofit on a number of different levels including engaging your constituents and helping with your overall search engine optimization. Use blog posts to establish you or your organization as a thought leader, highlight your successes, tell people about upcoming events and programs, write a post that focuses on an employee or a recipient of your services or share news that relates to your mission. Maybe even encourage a donor or volunteer to write a guest post for your blog.
"Writing a great blog post can be time consuming if it is done correctly." That's the complaint heard around the world. Yes, it may take you an hour or so to write a good post that includes relevant keywords and a photo that makes the post "Pop." It's worth it. Encourage your team to help brainstorm topics to write about. Let each member of the team write a post every month. As a matter of fact, delegate the task and note who's writing what topic on your Content Calendar to hold people accountable.
Use Facebook to your benefit
Take a look at this image from Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project Omnibus Survey conducted in December 2012, titled The Demographics of Social Media Users - 2012. Look for your constituent groups on the chart, then tell me it's not worth your effort to incorporate Facebook in your fundraising strategy.
Take a look at the Millennial Impact Report of 2012, a research project of Achieve and Johnson Grossnickle & Associates. The report is packed with useful information and statistics. Note that 65% of the people in the survey reported they "Prefer to learn about nonprofits" on the nonprofit's website and 55% prefer social media. While 67% of respondents who said they have interacted with nonprofits via Facebook, 92% have "Liked" nonprofit pages, 71% have joined a Facebook group, and 74% have "Liked" a post on a nonprofit's Facebook page.
Remember, images are likely to be "Liked" and shared. Videos get lots of attention too if they're short and done well. Be bold, host a contest and encourage your donors to post a photo or video of them in action, fulfilling your nonprofit's mission.
There are a number of other Internet tactics you may wish to implement this year to help you achieve your fundraising and other goals. This list is a good start. If you're able to accomplish what's here, you're going to see results.
I'm curious to know what other tactics you employ. Let us know in the comments below and tell us if you've done any of the things suggested above and the outcome.
This was first published on Nonprofits Must Take Their Fundraising Strategy To The Next Level